"A creative fruit salad that combines savory acini de pepe pasta, sweet fruit, and a creamy fruit juice custard. A unique treat for all parties or holidays!"
Ever since I started this little food blog, a lot of my conversations with friends start out with something like this:
“Oooh, I know what you could make!”
“You know what you should make?”
“I have this great recipe you should make!”
And quite honestly, I love all of this. Before I started Homemade Hooplah, I always felt like an outsider whenever the topic of cooking or favorite recipes came up, as if my “superb” skill at boiling water was no match for their ability to create a perfectly homemade lasagna from memory (which, okay, let’s be real here – that does beat boiling water by an astronomically big margin).
But now that I have my cooking sea legs under me, I love talking about food. I love learning new ways to make it. I love finding new dishes I never knew existed before.
And that, my friends, is exactly how I stumbled across Frog Eye Salad.
I got the original recipe for this salad from a friend who had moved to another state a few years ago. I’m sure if we were still close by, the topic of this unique treat would have already come up, but as they say, it’s far too easy for our relationships to fall into the “out of sight, out of mind” with time and distance. And, also, if she were still living in sunny Phoenix, I doubt she ever would have stumbled across this salad. As I understand it, frog eye salad is more of a midwestern / Pacific coast treat, so usually, only the locals know about it.
So on one fateful day, my friend was preparing to make this recipe and it made her think of this little food blog. She sent me a photo of the printed recipe, and I had to give her credit – the ingredients were certainly interesting. In fact, this was easily the most unique recipe any of my friends have followed up a “You know what you should make?” question with.
I absolutely loved the idea of pairing sweet and creamy ingredients with pasta, so of course I was going to try it.
I put it on my recipe to-do list and I had every intention of making it in June.
But then July came. Then August.
When September began to loom in the distance, I finally put my foot down. I had to make this recipe.
And now that I have a big, wonderful batch of it in my fridge, I really don’t know why I waited so long.
It’s as awesome as I imagined it would be.
Now, I had to Google the name of the recipe, since the printout my friend had didn’t include a name, and the closest I could find was “Frog Eye Salad” – uses all the same ingredients, just slightly different proportions. And even when I made it, I made some adjustments to my tastes and those that would tailor to the ingredients I had on hand.
And even still, it turned out amazing.
I think this is typically seen as a summer salad – because really, what fruit salad isn’t a summer salad? – but at the same time, with a name like Frog Eye Salad, I think it’d be perfect for a kid’s party or for even Halloween.
I mean, how can a salad with a name like this not be a hit with all your friends? Their curiosity of the dish alone will win them over!
notes & tips for frog eye salad:
- To make the pineapple custard in this recipe, you’ll need a candy thermometer to ensure the eggs reach the correct temperature. I know these thermometers can be a little clumsy to use, especially in a recipe like this that requires a lot of whisking, but as they say – better safe than sorry! The pineapple custard will be so much better if it has the chance to reach the right temperature, too.
- Like the serving dish that’s used in the photos? You can pick one up here: Large Footed Trifle Bowl.
- Interesting fact! The friend that tipped me off to this recipe currently lives in Oregon, but from what I’ve read, frog eye salad originated in Utah, especially among members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But no matter where you live, this fun take on a fruit salad will always be a deliciously unique addition to any get-together! A couple of my friends here in Arizona have already requested it the next time we have a movie night.
Frog Eye Salad
- 12 oz acini de pepe
- 47 oz pineapple chunks (can use 2 23.5oz jars or 2 20oz cans)
- 23.5 oz mandarin oranges (can use 1 23.5oz jar or 1 20oz can)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 3 egg beaten
- 8 oz cool whip softened
- shredded coconut for garnish (optional)
- mini marshmallows for garnish (optional)
Prepare acini de pepe per package instructions. Drain and set aside to cool.
Drain mandarin oranges thoroughly; discard juice and place mandarin oranges in a 13 quart mixing bowl. Drain and pineapple chunks thoroughly and save 1 3/4 cup of the pineapple juice; discard the rest of the juice. Add about 2/3 of the pineapple chunks to the bowl with the mandarin oranges and set the bowl aside. Reserve the 1/3 of the pineapple chunks for the next step.
In a medium saucepan, add 1 3/4 cup pineapple juice and granulated sugar, then whisk until sugar has dissolved. Add beaten eggs and flour to saucepan and then slowly begin to heat mixture up to 170 degrees F, whisking constantly. For best results, use a candy thermometer to ensure the temperature is reached. Custard should be creamy (but not too thick) once ready. Depending on your cooktop, this process should take anywhere from 10-20 minutes. Remove pineapple custard from heat and let cool completely. TIP: To cool faster, transfer pineapple custard to a new bowl and set in the refrigerator for about 20-30 minutes.
Once all of the above steps are created and cooled, pour the acini de pepe and pineapple custard into the bowl with the fruit and gently mix together.
- Cover bowl and place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours (or ideally overnight).
When ready to serve, add cool whip to bowl with pasta and fruit and stir until combined.
Serve frog eye salad immediately with shredded coconut and/or mini marshmallows as garnish (optional).